Published September 27, 2011
The solution to the nation's jobs crisis: suspend congressional elections?
That was the proposal put forward by North Carolina's governor, who was trying to make a point at a Rotary Club event that political considerations are hindering efforts in Washington to tackle unemployment and economic stagnation.
"I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover," Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, said, according to a report by the Raleigh News & Observer. "You want people who don't worry about the next election."
It wasn't clear how serious Perdue was about giving lawmakers a get-out-of-an-election-free card -- especially considering that Congress' approval rating is in the gutter -- but Republicans quickly pounced on her remarks.
"Now is a time when politicians need to be held accountable more than ever," local GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood said in a statement to the newspaper. "Does the governor not believe that people of North Carolina have the ability to think for themselves about whether or not the actions of elected officials are working?"
Paul Coble, a GOP candidate for a House seat from North Carolina, also took exception to Perdue's comments.
"That’s a proposal that only the politicians that have worsened our economic mess could appreciate,” Coble, who is chairman of the Wake County commissioners, told the News & Observer.
Perdue's office later released a statement suggesting she wasn't really calling for a suspension of elections.
"Governor Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve," a spokeswoman said.